Lithuania has taken delivery of its first two of 88 VILKAS 8×8 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs).
The VILKAS is based on the Rheinmetall Boxer 8×8 and is manufactured by Artec, a joint venture between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles’ German and Dutch divisions. The delivery comes less than three years after the August 2016 contract for 84 infantry fighting vehicles and four command vehicles was signed by Lithuania through the European inter-governmental Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR).
Lithuania’s Boxers will be armed with a 30mm ATK Mk44 Bushmaster cannon, and the Rafael Spike anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system. The Bushmaster is the same main gun fitted to the Stryker Dragoon armoured vehicle forward-based in nearby Germany with the US Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment.
The Boxers will be operated by Lithuania’s Iron Wolf Brigade, a mechanised brigade reportedly held at the highest level of readiness, and will replace the M113 in service.
The Australian Army has ordered 211 Boxer 8×8 combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRVs) for its LAND 400 Phase 2 requirement, the first of which reportedly arrived in country for testing in June.